What happens when we recognise women’s art as creative labour? How do women artists understand their relationship to their art as work and what can we learn from this? What avenues open up when women’s art is brought outside the home and community, and into the book form?
To explore these concerns, here is a set of four specially-selected titles featuring work by women artists from different folk and indigenous communities. While the perspectives and illustration styles in these books are varied, each of them grapples with the relationship between life, labour and art. Through this work, artists find the space for reflection, a break from the mundane, survival in difficult times, and an entryway to imagining wholly unfamiliar worlds.
This book of richly detailed drawings follows the journey of a migrant worker-turned-artist who continues to paint her way through difficult times. Teju’s self-taught style of lines and dots has been riso-printed using organic soy-based inks.
The moving story of a domestic helper from a community of fisherfolk who discovered painting while working in an artist’s house. She learned by doing, and has since been acknowledged as a reputed Mithila artist.
Amrita Das with Gita Wolf and Suseela Varadarajan
A reflective account of a young woman’s thoughts and feelings as she comes into contact with the larger world, rendered with illustrations in the Mithila style of art that tread the fine balance between tradition and innovation.
Rokheya Sakhawat Hossain and Durga Bai
An artist from the Gond tribe of central India, brilliantly interprets Rokheya Hossain’s startling feminist fable from the early twentieth century, adding a new layer of meaning to a classic text.